Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports
Fishing for lingcod and rockfish was very good this past weekend. Many anglers caught big lingcod while fishing out past 40 fathoms. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod.
The harvest of cabezon along with copper, quillback, and China rockfish are now all closed to boat anglers. Shore anglers will still be able to harvest these rockfish species (but are encouraged to release them) and 1 cabezon a day.
With the recent winter storm, roads may be treacherous and water bodies may be freezing over, especially at higher elevations. Be sure to check on conditions before heading out.
While access permits, Howard Prairie, Fish Lake or Hyatt still remain great fishing opportunities for trout, especially from pontoons or kayaks.
Effective Dec. 7, the emergency angling closures in the Winchuck, Chetco, Elk and Sixes Rivers will be lifted. Reduced wild Chinook harvest and bag limits remain in effect.
Hatchery steelhead returns in the Coos Basin will be down this year due to low smolt releases two years ago. Because of disease issues at the hatchery then, we were only able to release less than 40 percent of our production goal.
Fishing for rockfish inside the bay has been good near the submerged rock piles. Fishing is typically best near slack tide. Boat anglers are no longer able to harvest copper, quillback, or China rockfish for the remainder of the year because we reached our catch limit on these species. A jig with a twister tail can be a great bait for catching rockfish.
Winter steelhead anglers will start hitting the water in the Coos Basin for the first returning steelhead of the year. Steelhead anglers wanting to fish the South Fork Coos River above Dellwood will need a fishing permit from Weyerhaeuser to access this portion of the river.
Winter steelhead anglers will start fishing along the mainstem Coquille River in areas around Argo and the town of Coquille. Most anglers will plunk in these areas with a Spin-n-Glo tipped with eggs or sand shrimp.
Effective Dec. 7, the emergency angling closure in the Elk River will be lifted. Reduced wild Chinook harvest and bag limits remain in effect.
Fishing for trout in Hemlock and Lake in the Woods can be good this time of year. Spinners or “plunking” with worms and/or PowerBait can be effective methods for fishing these lakes.
Lake Marie should be decent with some holdovers from this summer’s stocking. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms to catch trout and yellow perch.
Lost Creek Reservoir was stocked the week of Oct. 2 with legal-size and larger trout and both Tekelma and the Marina boat ramps are accessible. This is probably the best lake for launching larger trailered boats at this time and the trout fishing will continue to be good throughout the fall.
Trout should be biting well with the cool temperatures. Bass and panfish are available here year-round but will be slow to bite now that the weather has cooled. Trolling a wedding ring and worm combination behind an oval egg sinker is always a good bet.
Lower Rogue – As we ease into fall/winter weather, the water temperature will continue to drop, which should encourage some fish to move up river.
When expecting rain and rising river levels, some people may want to consider switching tactics to anchoring up and back-bouncing eggs. Bank anglers will want to look for fish on inside bends in the river and slots along willow banks.
Winter steelhead fishing should start to pick up after Thanksgiving. Anglers might want to try swinging flies or tossing spinners.
Middle Rogue – Half-pounders are still present in the Rogue Canyon, but anglers are reminded only hatchery trout can be retained.
Adult steelhead fishing continues to be good throughout the river. Spinners and flies are bringing in some nice large fish as they continue to move upstream. Wild steelhead must be released unharmed. As the most recent storm did not produce much precipitation, steelhead are still holding in the same areas and are slow to move upriver.
Some coho have been reported around Grants Pass. However, most coho on the Rogue are wild and must be released. Only hatchery coho can be retained. Please be mindful to release wild coho back into the river unharmed with minimal handling. Coho are aggressive and bite on flashy spinners with black, pink or purple colors.
Boaters floating from Hog Creek to Graves Creek should be familiar with the rapids in this section of the river, and know their takeouts. Experienced oarsmen/women are recommended here. There are many BLM public access points to bank fish from Hog Creek to Graves Creek. This is often referred to the “Galice area.”
Summer steelhead and trout remain open in the upper Rogue, and summer steelhead fishing has been good. Bait restrictions are in effect in some areas so be aware of the regulations where you are fishing. From Fishers Ferry to Shady Cove anglers cannot use bait. A simple setup of bouncing bait, or using lures such a spinner, a plug or a bead can be very effective in steelhead fishing.
This has been a great run of summer steelhead with not only many fish available, but larger fish as well. Cold, low water has been keeping steelhead from moving around much right now, so if you can figure out where they are holding it can still be good fishing.
Ninety-one new summer steelhead entered the trap at Cole Rivers last week, for a total of 3,037 steelhead to date. Excess hatchery adult summer steelhead from Cole River Hatchery are being recycled back into the fishery and anglers are reporting success in catching these fish. Cole Rivers is starting to see coho back at the hatchery and 68 swam in last week for a total of 114 so far this season.
Some summer steelhead have red, blue or green tags extending from the top of the fish near the dorsal fin. ODFW encourages anglers that catch these fish to call the upper Rogue office at 541-826-8774.
Above Lost Creek Reservoir – Plenty of naturally produced trout are always present in the upper Rogue, however, water has cooled significantly and these fish will be very slow to bite.
Anglers can cast flies or smaller lures like a Panther Martin or rooster tail. Often tipping the lure with bait helps to produce. In slower holes, fishing straight bait such as nightcrawler, Pautzke eggs or even PowerBait will produce.
Effective Dec. 7, the emergency angling closure in the Sixes River will be lifted. Reduced wild Chinook harvest and bag limits remain in effect.
Smith River opens up to Bridge 10 on the North Fork and Sisters Creek on the mainstem on Dec. 1. There might be a few early steelhead lower down.
Tenmile Creek is open to steelhead fishing but Eel Creek won’t open to fishing until Jan. 1.
Tenmile Lakes – Bass anglers will need to slow down their presentation as the water temperatures continue to drop. Anglers are catching most of the bass along the deeper weedlines and submerged trees.
Yellow perch are cruising on the deepwater mudflats. Most of the fish are under 10-inches long but anglers are catching a few 12 inch-plus fish.
Trout anglers continue to troll for trout. A few trout have been caught on bait by anglers targeting yellow perch.